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The Story Behind New Bedford’s Mysterious Upside Down Christmas Tree

If you’ve been around the New Bedford area for very long, there’s a chance you’ve seen the Christmas tree that hangs upside down in front of a home on Wood Street in the city.  


Whenever the topic comes up, we hear from listeners who have their own ideas, or have heard reasons why the tree has been hung upside down every holiday season for all these years.

I rang the doorbell at a the Wood Street home of Robert Wilkinson.  The 79 year old man and his wife invited me in and were very nice.  They showed me old newspaper articles and several photos of the tree.   But why did they put the tree upside down in the first place?

It was 1991 and Robert was informed that Chamberlain Manufacturing, where he had worked for 31 years, was closing.  Robert would lose his income and his insurance.  He also know several other people who were in the same situation.   It was at a time where there had been an increase in crime and Robert felt the world was changing, and not for the better.

So as the holidays approached, he said the world felt “upside down”, and so their Christimas tree would be upside down as well.   Originally they had a larger tree inside the house decorated with old family ornaments.

But now, the outside upside down tree is a tradition, and Robert says each year as the Holiday season nears, people ask him if the upside down tree will return.   It’s now back for yet another year.  A very merry not-so-upside-down Christmas to Mr. & Mr.s Robert Wilkinson.

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